Saturday, July 24, 2010

Welcome Guest Blogger Mimi Barbour

Old-School Social Networking

Like many in the romance genre, I started my career as a secretive writer. It wasn’t until I’d written my first full book— and had no idea what to do with it— that I decided I had to come out of the closet. Seek help. Admit to the world that I wrote love stories. Confess my passion out loud to my family and friends. Do you know hard that is to do? Put yourself out there like that? Especially without any idea of ever getting published, even if you secretly believe one day you’ll be giving Nora Roberts a run for her money. (Sorta, kidding here!)

At that point, I had a million questions. And, it was essential for me to be with other writers to get the answers. I searched on Google (love that Google) and found the closest RWA (Romance Writers of America) group. My first step in social networking had begun.

You can get on a multitude of websites, many of them brilliant— with wonderful workshops and a gazillion ideas on writing. But nothing gives you the support like a person can. A hug when you get a rejection. Or a high-five, from a colleague, when you get a contract. A pat on the back for every step on that tortuous rode to becoming multi-published. Writers need the affirmation that they aren’t wasting their time and their talents in a profession that’s so difficult to achieve and conquer, and who better than from a person travelling the same path.

When I went to the RWA convention last year, I found myself wandering alone into the pub area, and without hesitation, I approached a lovely lady sitting, reading her e-reader and enjoying a glass of wine. Within moments, I sat there with her and we were deep into a discussion on which genre we wrote, and where we were in our respective careers. (Funny about when authors meet, their first questions aren’t usually about where each other comes from, but rather what genre they write and if they’re published.) I left her after an hour feeling much richer for having shared that time together.

During those days of workshops, every seat I went to sit in, someone just like me was anxious and happy to talk about the profession, trade secrets we’d learned so far and everyone was gracious with sincere good wishes. I met a girl who seemed to be stalking me—since she had chosen to sit up front (as did I) for most of the same workshops. We became so intuned during those days that we’ve carried on our friendship by corresponding, and supporting the successes of the other. It’s heartening to know someone out there cares and is experiencing the same hopes and dreams of getting a contract. Those links can mean so much, and meeting up with her again, hopefully at another convention, is something I’m looking forward to.

Also, being a part of the RWA group, as a networking choice, has worked out brilliantly. Not only have I made wonderful friendships, but also, through these ladies, tentacles from my career have interacted with theirs and reached much further than if I had travelled alone. We’ve done workshops together, book signings and took in local conferences—brainstorming the whole time. I can’t imagine this harrowing, uplifting, tortuous journey without their support.

And, I hope that all of you who are reading this blog are enjoying the same sort of experience—that for you social networking isn’t only Facebook, Twitter, My Space…

(Who is ecstatic because she just found out that her fourth in the Vicarage Bench series – Together Again – has been contracted and will be released soon with The Wild Rose Press.)

Mimi Barbour lives on the beautiful west coast on Vancouver Island and writes her paranormal romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. Asked why she prefers paranormal, she answers - chuckling.
“Because it’s fun! Imagination can be much more interesting than what happens in real life, to so-called normal people. I love my characters, and my goal is to make the readers love them also. To care about what happens to them while the story unfolds. If I can steal my booklover’s attention away from their every-day grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I’ve done my job.” Mimi can be found at


Jana Richards said...

Hi Mimi,
Welcome to the Prairies! Thanks for being our guest today.

As much as I love blogging and meeting other writers online, I agree that sometimes there's no substitute for face to face interaction. Every once in a while it's great to leave the writing cave and head for a live conference or workshop or meeting. But when distance and cost prevent us from travelling, it's good to know we still can maintain contact and keep in touch electronically.


Jana Richards said...

Hi everyone,
It's a hot one on the Prairies today and I'm off to play golf. Judging by the quiet, that must be where everyone is! Thanks for joining us Mimi. I'll talk to you later.


Ilona Fridl said...

Hi, Mimi!

I read the first book in the series and loved it. Best wishes from a fellow Vintage Rose.

Jill James said...

Mimi, you summed up the joys of RWA membership so well. I have gotten a thousandfold whatever I have put into it; going to conferences, being a chapter board member for years. The riches of friendship have rained down on me.

Mary Ricksen said...

Authors are a special group. They are so supportive!!!

Mimi Barbour said...

Hi Jana,
Thanks so much for commenting and for inviting me to blog. Hope you had a good golf game. I'm terrible at it - but for some reason, I always get that one shot that brings me back again....sigh!

Hi Ilona,
Nice to meet up with you again. I'm glad you liked my first's wonderful to hear that from another Wild Rose author. Your book called "Siver Screen Heroes" is being released on July 31st and will be on my to-buy list. I love vintage stories.

Hi Jill,
Being a part of RWA is one of the best things to happen to me since I decided to take my talent seriously and go for it. I've met such lovely people both in person and on line. The old saying - it's a small world - seems to fit perfectly for authors

xo Mimi

mimi Barbour said...

Hi Mary,
I guess authors need each's a very hard way to make a living - ahhh, choking here!!! Okay, let's be real - it's a very, very hard way to try to make a living.

xo Mimi

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Networking is essential for a writers career. By putting yourself out there, you can make interesting new contacts, meet authors whom you might ask for quotes on your next book, encounter a librarian who asks you to speak at an event. Also try to meet writers in other genres. It expands your network along with your horizons, because likely you'll be stretching in other directions in your career some day.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mimi,
Congratulations on your latest contract. Great blog.I was a secretative writer for years until I came out of closet at a Writers Conference.



Leigh D'Ansey said...

Hi Mimi,
It's wonderful to be part of a writers community, building links of friendship with writers from all over the world. The online social networking can be time consuming but it's also rewarding in many different ways. It was lovly to learn about your writing journey.

Lee McKenzie said...

Mimi, I wholeheartedly agree about the benefits of networking within RWA. And congratulations on your new contract! That's so exciting!

Firefighter Daddy, July 2010

Mimi Barbour said...

Hi Nancy,
Thank you for stopping by. Everything you said resonated with me, because I've heard of those things actually happening. Other authors talk about meeting librarians who invite them to speak at the local library and they were able to network with a great bunch of ladies...then again I know in our RWA group that one our members is on the N.Y. Best-selling list and graciously gave a quote on a first release for one of the other girls. To me, this kind of personal support is invaluable.

Hi Margaret,
It's a scary thing isn't it...telling someone for the first time that you're an author. Taking that title for yourself, and actually believing you deserve it.... and the worst part for me was knowing I couldn't take it back!!!

Hi Leigh,

Thank you for joining and commenting. See - it's kind people like you who make me glad I took that step and joined the writer's community.

Hi Lee,

Just want to say thank you for blogging today, and I have to tell you that I finished your new Harlequin release Firefighter Daddy in one day (couldn't put it down. It was one of the best Harlequins I've read - humorous and heartfelt. You do us proud!

xo Mimi